Somerville School Committee Narrows Superintendent of Schools Candidate Pool to Three Finalists

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Dr. Kriner Cash, Dr. Fredrick McDowell, and Ms. Mary Skipper scheduled to visit Somerville December 2nd, 3rd and 4th

Somerville, MA – An original slate of more than 60 applicants from around the United States vying for Somerville’s Superintendent of Schools position was narrowed down to a list of three final candidates approved by the Somerville School Committee this evening. Dr. Kriner Cash, Dr. Fredrick McDowell, and Ms. Mary Skipper are scheduled to visit Somerville December 2-4 for the final step in the selection process.
Each candidate will spend a day in the City meeting with members of the Somerville community, and will conclude their visits with a final interview with the entire Somerville School Committee. Final candidate interviews will be held the evenings of December 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in City Hall and are open to the public. Public interviews will also be televised on Somerville’s local cable television stations (Channels 15/16). Community members will have an opportunity to offer input on the three finalists to School Committee members from December 4-8. The School Committee plans to vote on a final candidate on December 8, 2014.
“As we anticipated, there was a lot of interest in this position. We were very impressed with the overall quality of the candidate pool, and are thrilled to be bringing three outstanding candidates to Somerville for final interviews,” stated School Committee member Paul Bockelman (Ward 6), who is chairing the Search Committee. “Somerville is a great community, and the Somerville Public Schools district has established itself as a leader in urban education in Massachusetts. We are confident that Somerville’s next Superintendent of Schools will continue to lead our community on an upward trajectory, building on the great work of current Superintendent Tony Pierantozzi and his team, and focusing on the needs, challenges and opportunities of a wonderfully diverse community.”
The three finalists are:
DR. KRINER CASH: Dr. Cash served as Superintendent of Schools in Memphis, Tennessee from 2008-2013. Prior to his work in Memphis, he served for four years as the Chief of Accountability for the Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Over the course of his career he has served as Superintendent of the Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools, as Associate Dean of the Howard University School of Education, and as Coordinator for Community Involvement for the Cincinnati Public Schools. Dr. Cash holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Princeton, a Master’s Degree in Administration from Stanford, and a Doctorate in Cultural Diversity & Curricular Reform from the University of Massachusetts.
DR. FREDRICK McDOWELL: Dr. McDowell currently serves as an Instructional Superintendent for the Denver Public School System, where, among many responsibilities, he oversees professional development and evaluations for 15 middle and high schools serving 14,000 students. Prior to moving to Denver, he worked in the Boston Public School System, serving as Headmaster of Brighton High School and as the Principal of High Tech Academy. He began his career in education as a graphic design teacher in the Durham, North Carolina Public Schools where he taught for four years before becoming an Assistant Principal in the Orange County, North Carolina School District. Dr. McDowell holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Art and Design from North Carolina State University, Master’s Degrees in Technology Education and School Administration from North Carolina State University, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Northeastern University.
MS. MARY SKIPPER: Ms. Skipper currently serves as a Network Superintendent in the Boston Public School System, where she oversees the District’s 34 high schools. Prior to assuming her current position, she was Chief Education Officer/Headmaster of TechBoston Academy, which she helped launch within the Boston School System as the Founding Headmaster in 2002. Other roles within the Boston Public School System include Assistant Academic Superintendent for Pilot Schools and Technology Project Manager within the Office of Instructional Technology. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Latin from Tufts University, a Master’s Degree in Latin and Greek from Tufts University, a Master’s Degree in Education from Harvard University, and is currently working toward her Doctorate in Urban Leadership from Teacher’s College at Columbia University.
The first round of candidate interviews were conducted in Executive Session, as permitted by law, on November 18th and 19th by a 7-member advisory committee chaired by School Committee member Adam Sweeting (Ward 3). Other members of the advisory committee included School Committee members Carrie Normand (Ward 7), Laura Pitone (Ward 5), and Steve Roix (Ward 1); Ms. Nelia Braga, a teacher at Somerville High School and mother of two; Ms. Rupinder Kaur, a recent Somerville High School graduate and current student at Wentworth Institute of Technology; and Ms. Lupe Ojeda, a parent of children in the district and a board member and parent leader at The Welcome Project. After the first round of interviews, the advisory committee narrowed the slate of candidates to three for consideration by the full School Committee.
Earlier this year, the School Committee engaged the services of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA) consulting firm to assist in the search for Somerville’s next Superintendent of Schools after current Superintendent Tony Pierantozzi announced his retirement effective July 2015. Superintendent Pierantozzi will have completed 10 years of distinguished service with the Somerville Public Schools upon his retirement.

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